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The handling, or mis-handling of the run-up to and conduct of the war in Iraq will be debated for years. Using dozens of inside sources and citing dozens of documents, Thomas ricks chronicles the mistakes, misjudgements, lies, hubris and arrogance which lead to the invasion of Iraq and which have continued to make our involvement in Iraq a fiasco
Fiasco, Thomas E. Ricks's #1 New York Times bestseller, transformed the political dialogue on the war in Iraq. The Gamble is the next news-breaking installment. Thomas E. Ricks uses hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews with top officers in Iraq and extraordinary on-the-ground reportage to document the inside story of the Iraq War since late 2005 as only he can, examining the events that took place as the military was forced to reckon with itself, the surge was launched, and a very different war began. Since early 2007 a new military order has directed American strategy. Some top U.S. officials now in Iraq actually opposed the 2003 invasion, and almost all are severely critical of how the war was fought from then through 2006. At the core of the story is General David Petraeus, a military intellectual who has gathered around him an unprecedented number of officers with both combat experience and PhDs. Underscoring his new and unorthodox approach, three of his key advisers are quirky foreigners, an Australian infantryman-turned-anthropologist, an anti-military British woman who is an expert in the Middle East, and a Mennonite-educated Palestinian pacifist. The Gamble offers news breaking information, revealing behind-the-scenes disagreements between top commanders. We learn that almost every single officer in the chain of command fought the surge. Many of Petraeus's closest advisers went to Iraq extremely pessimistic, doubting that the surge would have any effect, and his own boss was so skeptical that he dispatched an admiral to Baghdad in the summer of 2007 to come up with a strategy to replace Petraeus's. That same boss later flew to Iraq to try to talk Petraeus out of his planned congressional testimony. The Gamble examines the congressional hearings through the eyes of Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, and their views of the questions posed by the 2008 presidential candidates. For Petraeus, prevailing in Iraq means extending the war. Thomas E. Ricks concludes that the war is likely to last another five to ten years and that that outcome is a best case scenario. His stunning conclusion, stated in the last line of the book, is that the events for which the Iraq war will be remembered by us and by the world have not yet happened.
From the #1 bestselling author of Fiasco and The Gamble, an epic history of the decline of American military leadership from World War II to Iraq History has been kind to the American generals of World War II--Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, and Bradley--and less kind to the generals of the wars that followed. In The Generals, Thomas E. Ricks sets out to explain why that is. In part it is the story of a widening gulf between performance and accountability. During the Second World War, scores of American generals were relieved of command simply for not being good enough. Today, as one American colonel said bitterly during the Iraq War, "As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war. " In The Generals we meet great leaders and suspect ones, generals who rose to the occasion and those who failed themselves and their soldiers. Marshall and Eisenhower cast long shadows over this story, as does the less familiar Marine General O. P. Smith, whose fighting retreat from the Chinese onslaught into Korea in the winter of 1950 snatched a kind of victory from the jaws of annihilation. But Korea also showed the first signs of an army leadership culture that neither punished mediocrity nor particularly rewarded daring. In the Vietnam War, the problem grew worse until, finally, American military leadership bottomed out. The My Lai massacre, Ricks shows us, is the emblematic event of this dark chapter of our history. In the wake of Vietnam a battle for the soul of the U. S. Army was waged with impressive success. It became a transformed institution, reinvigorated from the bottom up. But if the body was highly toned, its head still suffered from familiar problems, resulting in tactically savvy but strategically obtuse leadership that would win battles but end wars badly from the first Iraq War of 1990 through to the present. Ricks has made a close study of America's military leaders for three decades, and in his hands this story resounds with larger meaning: about the transmission of values, about strategic thinking, and about the difference between an organization that learns and one that fails.
The United States Marine Corps, with its proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of American myth. Making the Corps visits the front lines of boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina. Here, old values are stripped away and new Marine Corps values are forged. Bestselling author Thomas E. Ricks follows these men from their hometowns, through boot camp and into their first year as Marines. As three fierce drill instructors fight a battle for the hearts and minds of this unforgettable group of young men, a larger picture emerges, brilliantly painted, of the growing gulf that divides the military from the rest of America. Included in this edition is an all-new afterword from the author that examines the war in Iraq through the lens of the Marines from Platoon 3086, giving readers an on-the-ground view of the conflict from those who know it best
Majors Cindy Sherman and Bud Lewis are the best young combat officers the army has, and they've both been tapped for plum positions as aides-de-camp for two of the Pentagon's most senior generals. The Pentagon is a cauldron of careerist jockeying and factional squabbling in the best of times, though, and these are not the best of times. A president whom the officer class widely loathes sits in the White House, and grumblings that he's steering the military onto the rocks are growing louder. Some officers are openly asking: If you believe the president is betraying his country, where does your duty lie? Just as Sherman and Lewis ease into their jobs -- and into a deepening romance -- a secret pressure group of military officers called the Sons of Liberty begins to carry out covert protests, symbolic at first, against White House policy. It is with shock that Lewis comes to suspect the group's leader is his own boss and hero, General B. Z. Ames, and that the man in the center of Ames's target is Sherman's boss, General John Shillingworth. As the White House keeps the army grinding through a miserable third-world brushfire war, the Sons of Liberty's activities grow more treasonous, and their efforts to avoid detection more ruthless, until Majors Sherman and Lewis find themselves in a vicious game with life-and-death stakes and the future of the American military hanging in the balance.
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